Gardening in Katherine

We’re having lots of catch up time with Kelv here in Katherine. His transportable house was finished within a day or two of us arriving. Not good timing for him as the mango harvest isn’t far off beginning, so his work days are becoming longer.

He managed to get a 1/2 day off work last Friday. His new motor bike was ready in Darwin (a replica of Steve McQueen’s bike in The Great Escape), and his house needed curtains and blinds before he could move in.

So, we had a trip into Darwin with him, firstly to pick out blinds and curtains, and then we dropped him off to pick up his bike and choose his helmet. We headed back to Katherine with all the shopping, leaving him to test drive his new bike to a friends house Darwin. It was already almost almost 5pm by this stage so to dangerous for a 300 km motor-bike trip home on the dark country roads – too many wallabies, kangaroos and cows on the roads in the dark for safe motor-cycling. So, he stayed in Darwin seemingly doing justice to celebrating both his new house, and new motor bike.

He’s bought some basic furniture to get himself started and has now moved in.

This week he’s pulled out all stops to get the front lawn started before his work season starts to demand his full and undivided attention. The front sand patch needed levelling before he could plant lawn seed. After several days of raking and watering it was in reasonable shape – no mean feat after a days work in 37 degrees with increasing humidity. The lawn seed’s now in, along with a small, fast growing tree.

Lawn seed and one small tree has been planted.
Lawn seed and one small tree has been planted.

The back lawn was nothing but a sand patch with a few trees a week ago. With no shortage of water, the sprinkler’s been running constantly. I can’t believe the difference a week of sun, fertiliser and water has made. It’s almost half way to being green now.

What a difference a week of water, sun and fertiliser  makes to a sand patch.
What a difference a week of water, sun and fertiliser makes to a sand patch.

We’ve been doing our bit to help, including planting a small group of golden cane palms, and some small hibiscus to form a hedge.

The mango orchard forms a pleasing back ground from Kelv's back verandah.
The mango orchard forms a pleasing back ground from Kelv’s back verandah.
The beginnings of an Hibiscus hedge.
The beginnings of an Hibiscus hedge.

It’ll be great to come back next winter and see how they’ve all grown.

And after all the gardening, a bike ramp was needed. With the carport yet to be added to the house, and with no garage, the next best place for a motor-bike to be housed is seemingly on the back verandah. As a woman, I couldn’t really relate to this logic, but it made full sense to all the men. So a bike ramp was built, a full days job with both Paul and Kelv working on it.

Kelv adding the final cross plank while his two 'supervisors' look on.
Kelv adding the final cross plank while his two ‘supervisors’ look on.

Then time to test it out.

Going up!
Going up!
And the big test - coming down!
And the big test – coming down!

Coming down was a little hairy!  It only just has enough clearance, and could perhaps have been a little less steep. But he managed it, and I’m sure it’ll get easier with practice.

And now, onto some news of our own. It’s been an eventful week. Firstly,  Paul’s dads ended up back in hospital following a fall. He’s been discharged now, but is again in Butler Green, an intermediate care facility. I think he’ll be home again soon, but it’s looking more like permanent care could be on the agenda soon.

Next news, Dad’s house went to auction last Tuesday, and sold for considerably more than the reserve price. What a relief to have that sold. It was a worry.

And finally, some news all of our own, drum roll please……. We’ve bought another house! In Busselton, beachside and very close to where we had our block of land in Abbey.

Kelv and some friends from Perth were with us for dinner a few nights ago, when Kelv asked us if we were going to be renting this one out too.  He went into hysterics when we explained we’re not, and the reasons why.

Our reasoning is as follows: We love Tassie, we love the Northern Territory, and we love Western Australia. We’re sure there’s no better place in the world to spend summers than in Busselton, with Tassie  a close second (but Tassie does lack Busselton’s more consistent summer climate). And for the winters – for us the Kimberleys and NT beat anywhere else by an Aussie country mile. The consistent weather, the wide open spaces, with room to move and air to breath.And with the biggest surprise for us in this whole road trip being that what we’ve so far seen of the east coast, it doesn’t get a look in, in comparison to the west.

With our love of the East Kimberleys, and the NT, and with Kelv living in the NT, this is where we want to head to for winters. With the boat access from Tassie being so expensive and so restrictive, it isn’t such an appealing place to use as a permanent summer base.

So, there’s been a downturn in the Busselton market, which  seemed like to good an opportunity to pass by. And it was such a good buy that we don’t have to rent it out.

However, we do still have our house in lovely Deloraine, and we do still intend to spend some time there – one day……

And why was Kelv, and Bruce and Wendy in hysterics. Because we’re going to use the Busselton house as our ‘summer house’, for approximately six months of the year, and the rest of the time we’ll keep travelling around this wonderful, vast land. They thought, ‘our summer house’, sounded so toffee nosed. So, for evermore now, it’ll be ‘our summerhouse’.

What a week. What a pleasure!

3 thoughts on “Gardening in Katherine

  1. Yes my email is up and running now. Thank goodness. Also a very happy anniversary to you both for today the 12 September. Enjoy your day. And yes G is doing all the washing up!!!
    Love JGP xx


  2. We’re staying nearby to Kelvin this year Joan. Next year, when he has some established lawn there, we’ll take our van out. Plus we’ll come up a bit earlier, around June/July when it’s not so hot and less humid. It’s hot now, and we’re appreciating cooling off in the caravan park pool. No pool on the farm. We are so enjoying our time with him. He’s very happy in this new job – a different person.
    Oh dear, it sounds like you’re having a rough time of it. I do hope they do something soon, for you both. Is Gordon able to help you with dishes, washing up must be terrible with your hand so sore.
    Have they managed to fix your email yet?


  3. Hi Chris and Paul
    Great to receive all the news, and what news. Just loved reading it and staying with Kelvin must have been a happy, although busy, time. I have been ringing Glyn but obviously no reply and not surprised he is back in one of the respite care units. Like you it does look like he may well be put into residential care sometime. How and where did he have the fall?
    That is good news about Chadderton park road.
    Busselton ….. Well I am not surprised you have bought a house there, it has always sounded such a lovely place and 6 months living there in the summer and the other months continuing on your travels. Good idea.
    I go to see the consultant on Tuesday with regard to this porphyria. My right hand is so very sore and full of horrid blisters which eventually pop and so painful and leave such dreadful marks on my fingers. No idea when we will be going back to the lodge at the moment because of appointments for both of us.
    Love Joan x


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